September 12th, 2006 | Published in Google Books
It was in Jim Hosney's 11th grade English class (aptly called "Great Books") where I first read Faulkner, Joyce, Conrad, Ellison, and Nabokov. I remember getting lost in the description of lightbulbs and Louis Armstrong in the beginning of Invisible Man, struggling through Joyce, and crying on an airplane as I finished Heart of Darkness. We questioned Humbert Humbert's reliability as a narrator and examined Faulkner's style in light of feminist theory. It was amazing.
But every year, there are hundreds of attempts to restrict access to these great books and many others -- by authors as diverse as Toni Morrison, Mark Twain, and Judy Blume -- through challenges to their inclusion in school curricula as well as libraries. So I'm excited to share the news that this year, Google is joining the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries and bookstores across the country in celebrating the 25th anniversary of Banned Books Week (September 23rd-30th).
How are we celebrating? Starting today, you can visit http://www.google.com/bannedbooks to explore 42 banned or challenged books honored by the Radcliffe Publishing Course as among the Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century. You can see which of these novels have been targeted for banning, find out where you can buy or borrow them, and check out what authors and critics have to say by browsing related books.
We're proud to highlight these books, and we hope this collection helps you rediscover old favorites, sparks your interest in books you haven't read before, and gives you new cause to celebrate your freedom to read.